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Google and YouTube Agree to Pay $170 Million Settlement for COPPA Violation

Google LLC ("Google") and YouTube agreed to pay a "record" settlement amount of $170 million in order to settle FTC and New York Attorney General ("NYAG") charges for violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act ("COPPA"). The FTC and NYAG reported that $34 million of the $170 million settlement will go to New York State.

COPPA prohibits the operators of certain websites from collecting or distributing personal information from children under the age of 13 without parental consent. According to the NYAG, Google and its subsidiary, YouTube, violated COPPA by knowingly tracking and serving targeted advertisements to videos directed at children under 13. The FTC and NYAG determined that Google and YouTube were aware of the COPPA violations, given numerous complaints about the issue.

In addition to the fine, Google and YouTube agreed to multiple injunctive provisions and "major" reforms to ensure compliance with COPPA, including:

  • implementing and maintaining a system for users to determine whether uploaded video content is directed at children;

  • making users aware that YouTube content directed at children may be subject to COPPA and must be designated as child-directed;

  • conducting annual compliance training on COPPA for relevant employees; and

  • obtaining verifiable parental consent prior to using or disclosing personal information concerning children.

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